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Old 04-22-2003, 09:09 AM   #1
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How many of the world's politicians were

receiving money from the food for oil program?

Galloway was in Saddam's pay, say secret Iraqi documents
By David Blair in Baghdad
(Filed: 22/04/2003)


George Galloway, the Labour backbencher, received money from Saddam Hussein's regime, taking a slice of oil earnings worth at least 375,000 a year, according to Iraqi intelligence documents found by The Daily Telegraph in Baghdad.

A confidential memorandum sent to Saddam by his spy chief said that Mr Galloway asked an agent of the Mukhabarat secret service for a greater cut of Iraq's exports under the oil for food programme.


George Galloway: 'I have never in my life seen a barrel of oil, let alone owned, bought or sold one'
He also said that Mr Galloway was profiting from food contracts and sought "exceptional" business deals. Mr Galloway has always denied receiving any financial assistance from Baghdad.

Asked to explain the document, he said yesterday: "Maybe it is the product of the same forgers who forged so many other things in this whole Iraq picture. Maybe The Daily Telegraph forged it. Who knows?"

When the letter from the head of the Iraqi intelligence service was read to him, he said: "The truth is I have never met, to the best of my knowledge, any member of Iraqi intelligence. I have never in my life seen a barrel of oil, let alone owned, bought or sold one."

In the papers, which were found in the looted foreign ministry, Iraqi intelligence continually stresses the need for secrecy about Mr Galloway's alleged business links with the regime. One memo says that payments to him must be made under "commercial cover".

For more than a decade, Mr Galloway, MP for Glasgow Kelvin, has been the leading critic of Anglo-American policy towards Iraq, campaigning against sanctions and the war that toppled Saddam.

He led the Mariam Appeal, named after an Iraqi child he flew to Britain for leukaemia treatment. The campaign was the supposed beneficiary of his fund-raising.

But the papers say that, behind the scenes, Mr Galloway was conducting a relationship with Iraqi intelligence. Among documents found in the foreign ministry was a memorandum from the chief of the Mukhabarat to Saddam's office on Jan 3, 2000, marked "Confidential and Personal".

It purported to outline talks between Mr Galloway and an Iraqi spy. During the meeting on Boxing Day 1999, Mr Galloway detailed his campaign plans for the year ahead.

The spy chief wrote that Mr Galloway told the Mukhabarat agent: "He [Galloway] needs continuous financial support from Iraq. He obtained through Mr Tariq Aziz [deputy prime minister] three million barrels of oil every six months, according to the oil for food programme. His share would be only between 10 and 15 cents per barrel."

Iraq's oil sales, administered by the United Nations, were intended to pay for only essential humanitarian supplies. If the memo was accurate, Mr Galloway's share would have amounted to about 375,000 per year.

The documents say that Mr Galloway entered into partnership with a named Iraqi oil broker to sell the oil on the international market.

The memorandum continues: "He [Galloway] also obtained a limited number of food contracts with the ministry of trade. The percentage of its profits does not go above one per cent."


The Iraqi spy chief, whose illegible signature appears at the bottom of the memorandum, says that Mr Galloway asked for more money.

"He suggested to us the following: first, increase his share of oil; second, grant him exceptional commercial and contractual facilities." The spy chief, who is not named, recommends acceptance of the proposals.

Mr Galloway's intermediary in Iraq was Fawaz Zureikat, a Jordanian. In a letter found in one foreign ministry file, Mr Galloway wrote: "This is to certify that Mr Fawaz A Zureikat is my representative in Baghdad on all matters concerning my work with the Mariam Appeal or the Emergency Committee in Iraq."

The intelligence chief's memorandum describes a meeting with Mr Zureikat in which he said that Mr Galloway's campaigning on behalf of Iraq was putting "his future as a British MP in a circle surrounded by many question marks and doubts".

Mr Zureikat is then quoted as saying: "His projects and future plans for the benefit of the country need financial support to become a motive for him to do more work and, because of the sensitivity of getting money directly from Iraq, it is necessary to grant him oil contracts and special and exceptional commercial opportunities to provide him with an income under commercial cover, without being connected to him directly."

Mr Zureikat is said to have emphasised that the "name of Mr Galloway or his wife should not be mentioned".
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Old 04-22-2003, 09:11 AM   #2
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Galloway denies Iraq payment claims


George Galloway (left) with Iraq deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz in 1999
Labour MP George Galloway has denied a newspaper report he received money from Saddam Hussein's regime and threatened to take legal action.
The Daily Telegraph claimed Mr Galloway received 375,000 a year from the oil for food programme, according to Iraqi intelligence documents the paper says it found in Baghdad.

But Mr Galloway has strongly denied soliciting money from the Iraqi regime and dismissed the official Iraqi letter as a possible forgery or as having been doctored to discredit him.

The Telegraph said the documents suggested Mr Galloway was conducting a relationship with Iraqi intelligence while campaigning for his anti-war charity, the Mariam Appeal.

I have never solicited nor received money from Iraq for our campaign against war and sanctions

George Galloway


The claims and rebuttals

The Labour MP told the paper it was "preposterous" to suggest his pro-Iraq campaigning activities were funded by the Iraqi dictator.

The left-wing MP has been outspoken in his opposition the US-led military action in Iraq.

The Telegraph claimed a confidential memorandum sent to Saddam by his head of intelligence showed Mr Galloway had asked a secret agent for a greater cut of Iraq's exports under the oil-for-food programme.

The Telegraph said the papers were found by one of their journalists in the foreign ministry in Baghdad.

In a statement, Mr Galloway insisted the documents were either forged or doctored.

"I have never solicited nor received money from Iraq for our campaign against war and sanctions," he said.

"I have never seen a barrel of oil, never owned one, never bought one, never sold one."

'Smear' campaign

He said the paper's claim he had met Iraqi intelligence officials was incorrect "to the best of my knowledge".

"Given that I have had access over the years to Iraq's political leadership, most often the deputy prime minister Tariq Aziz, I would have absolutely no reason to be meeting with an official of Iraqi intelligence."

Mr Galloway said he had not seen the documents because he was out of the country writing a book about Iraq.


Telegraph reporter recounts his discovery

"From the way they have been described to me, I can state that they bear all the hallmarks of having been either forged or doctored and are designed to discredit those who stood against the war," he said.

They were part of what he described as a "smear campaign against those who stood against the illegal and bloody war on Iraq and against its occupation by foreign forces".

He continued: "The idea that such documents have, as if to order, come to light just days after the massive assault on Baghdad, the looting and destruction of its ministries and government buildings and the chaos in the country, must be treated as highly suspect."

Mr Galloway said any interests he had in relation to the Mariam Appeal were registered in the House of Commons Register of Members Interests.

Labour investigation

The Mariam Appeal, named after an Iraqi child, did not receive any financial help from Iraq for its activities, the MP said.

Daily Telegraph editor Charles Moore told BBC Radio 4's Today programme he stood by his newspaper's story.

He said: "When you find a document of this sort, what you need to establish is the prima facie case for its validity, and then you get the other side of the story, you get the person in question to put his side.

"That is what we have done. I would think that would be perfectly conventional journalistic behaviour."

Labour Chairman Ian McCartney said the newspaper allegations were "extremely serious".

He told a news conference in Sheffield: "I understand George Galloway has denied these allegations and obviously I cannot comment any further on the allegations."

Mark Craig, chairman of Mr Galloway's constituency Labour Party, said the local party was sticking by their MP.

Mr Craig told BBC Radio 4's World At One programme: "I think it is the latest in a long line of smears to try to stop the work that George has been doing over a long period of time."
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Old 04-22-2003, 09:15 AM   #3
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Old 04-22-2003, 09:31 AM   #4
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Hmm,

I've only skimmed the articles, but it certainly looks serious. This is some dirty business. I wonder if there are more financial ties between the Iraqi regime and Western politicians...

C ya!

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Old 04-22-2003, 10:25 AM   #5
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wouldn't be surprised, marty. why do you think the French and Russians were so adamant against going to war?
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Old 04-22-2003, 12:14 PM   #6
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Geez, that's pretty damning stuff. I suspected some of the politicians were in cahoots with Saddam and Co. from the very beginning. So it's not like I'm particularly shocked.
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Old 04-22-2003, 12:44 PM   #7
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Even if this is true, I very much doubt that Galloway had any influence at all on Britain's actions in the war. He's a Labour backbencher, and one of Blair's least favourite backbenchers at that.

(Oh, and I met him once. )
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Old 04-22-2003, 01:55 PM   #8
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I am not so much concerned that it is just one. I am more concerned with the possibility that there was more than one. I am especially concerned that there were politicians in the US on the take.

It is troubling on many levels.
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Old 04-22-2003, 04:12 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dreadsox

It is troubling on many levels.
Why ? I think this is a chance to clean up those corrupt politicians.
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Old 04-22-2003, 04:20 PM   #10
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If any U.S. politicians were "on the take" from this, hopefully we can vote them out of office.
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Old 04-22-2003, 05:23 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Rono

Why ? I think this is a chance to clean up those corrupt politicians.
It is troubling that the Food For Oil program was in worse condition than I thought. I have been very upset the more I learn about how it was run.

This afternoon I found this editorial which indicates there could potentially be many more people wrapped up in this wicked web.

Saddam's little helper
(Filed: 22/04/2003)


It doesn't get much worse than this. George Galloway is Britain's most active and visible peace campaigner. The Labour MP for Glasgow Kelvin did not just oppose the recent campaign against Saddam Hussein; he lobbied equally aggressively against the first Gulf war, and during the years in between for an end to sanctions.

Yesterday, The Daily Telegraph's correspondent in Baghdad, David Blair, unearthed papers detailing alleged payments from Saddam's intelligence service to Mr Galloway through a Jordanian intermediary.

There is a word for taking money from enemy regimes: treason. What makes this allegation especially worrying, however, is that the documents suggest that the money has been coming out of Iraq's oil-for-food programme. In other words, the alleged payments did not come from some personal bank account of Saddam's, but out of the revenue intended to pay for food and medicines for Iraqi civilians: the very people whom Mr Galloway has been so fond of invoking.

Speaking from abroad yesterday, Mr Galloway was reduced to suggesting that the whole thing was a Daily Telegraph forgery, but the files could hardly be more specific. One memo comments: "His projects and future plans for the benefit of the country need financial support to become a motive for him to do more work, and because of the sensitivity of getting money directly from Iraq it is necessary to grant him oil contracts and special commercial opportunities to provide him with a financial income under commercial cover without being connected to him directly."

It is hard to think of a graver setback to the British anti-war movement. How would you feel if you were one of the many well-meaning peace protesters who had followed Mr Galloway's lead? What would your emotions be if you had given money to his Mariam Appeal, thinking that you were paying to treat a young Iraqi girl for leukaemia and wondering now how your money had been used?

For months, anti-war campaigners have been imputing the basest of motives to their adversaries. The whole campaign, they argued, was really about money and oil.

Yet what if it turns out that they, rather than their opponents, had hidden pecuniary motives? What if it was actually the supporters of the campaign who were acting on behalf of Iraqi civilians, while antiwar activists - or at least their leaders - were acting for profit?


If it is a bad day for the "not in my name" brigade, it is also a bad day for British Intelligence. If Baghdad was paying one of our MPs, did our security services know about it? If so, what action did they take? If not, what does it say about their competence? Is it possible that they were using Mr Galloway as an unwitting intermediary, probing to see whether Saddam might settle without a war?

Both the Labour Party and the Stop the War Coalition will, no doubt, be following the revelations nervously. To be fair to Labour, there had already been talk of disciplinary action against the man who recently described the British Government as being made up of "liars, forgers, war criminals and murderers". There was a huge row during a recent parliamentary debate when a Labour frontbencher described Mr Galloway as "Saddam's mouthpiece".

"Gorgeous George" has plenty of form, including allegations that he had misused funds as director of War on Want in the mid-1980s (he was later cleared after paying back 1,720). But, like Jeffrey Archer, his energy, combined with a readiness to litigate, saw him through many incidents that might have done for other politicians. Many, from all wings of the Labour Party, have nursed their doubts about the Glasgow MP, peering suspiciously at his natty suits and winter suntan. Yet they have never been able to pin their doubts on anything concrete.

If the allegations in the documents are borne out, however, expulsion from Labour is the least Mr Galloway should expect. Indeed, he would be lucky to get away with expulsion from the House of Commons.

There is precedent in the case of Arthur Lynch, an Irish Nationalist MP who had served against the British state during the Boer War, and who, following his election, was sentenced to death (the sentence was commuted, and he was eventually pardoned; interestingly, he later became a British patriot, and recruited in Ireland for volunteers during the First World War).

In order to comply with the European Convention on Human Rights, Tony Blair has abolished the death penalty in treason cases; but collaborating with a hostile regime remains the most serious of offences.

If it is unfair to blame Labour for Mr Galloway, the anti-war movement is far more culpable. To put it as neutrally as possible, it has a great deal of explaining to do. Last month, a letter in this newspaper from Dr Julian Lewis, a Tory defence spokesman, revealed that the chairman of the Stop the War Coalition, Andrew Murray, was an active communist and supporter of North Korea [letter, March 26].

Mr Murray made no attempt to deny the charge, writing back that "my politics have been clear to the tens of thousands who have attended the many anti-war meetings I have addressed" [letter, March 27]. The result of this exposure? Absolutely nothing.

If supporters of the peace movement were unsettled by having a supporter of nuclear-armed North Korea at their head, they did not show it.

By the same token, although they would be quick to put the boot in to Mr Galloway - as much for the crime of profiting from oil as anything else - hardcore peace campaigners would not be disheartened by the evidence that he was paid by one of the vilest regimes on earth. After all, there was little fuss when it turned out that the Communist Party of Great Britain, CND's chief sponsor, had been funded by Moscow during the Cold War.

There is, it seems, a kind of negative McCarthysim at work, whereby to hold communist sympathies against someone is seen as the height of bad taste.

The vicious anti-Americans at the heart of the peace movement will be unperturbed. They may well join Mr Galloway in claiming that the letters are a Telegraph conspiracy. The next time Britain and the US deploy force, they will march as though nothing had changed, for their convictions are beyond argument. But some of those who demonstrated for peace did so open-mindedly, from decent motives, believing that the war was, on balance, the greater evil.

Such people may be prepared to extrapolate from today's revelations. The chief argument deployed by the handful of Left-wing commentators who supported the war Nick Cohen of the Observer, for example, or John Lloyd, late of the New Statesman was that the peaceniks were effectively propping up Saddam Hussein.

This charge was much resented by the protesters, who argued that they unlike Western governments had no past record of supporting Saddam. Yet the accusation suddenly seems much harder to dismiss. Certainly it was Saddam's view that the anti-war movement was an ally of the Ba'athist regime so much so, it seems, that he was prepared to divert money away from hungry children in order to finance it.

It is just possible that, like the British Communists who tore up their membership cards following the Soviet invasions of Hungary and Czechoslovakia, some of these people may recant their support. They may feel misled. They may even, as they see how much more the occupying forces are doing for Iraqi civilians than the old regime ever did, feel guilty. Above all, they may be reluctant to march in support of this kingdom's enemies in future.
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Old 04-22-2003, 05:34 PM   #12
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Other information yet to come?

Standing on a heap of grubby box files piled on the floor in the office of Iraq's foreign minister, I dropped to my knees and started rummaging through a secret archive of correspondence.

Documents stamped "Confidential and Personal" emerged from overflowing pale blue folders, all carrying the Iraqi eagle, the symbol of the state.


David Blair with the letters he discovered in Baghdad
Letters signed by famous names in Iraqi politics such as Tariq Aziz, once deputy prime minister, and Naji Sabri, the former foreign minister, were suddenly cascading on to the floor.

As looters scurried through the corridors of the foreign ministry, hammering on one of the few remaining light fittings, I set to work with my Iraqi translator. We reached down into the pile of folders and dragged them out, one by one.

Some carried ambiguous Arabic labels translating as "political records". Others had long ago lost their labels. Some were blackened and torn. All were covered with a thick coat of ash and soot.

Within minutes, both of us had sweaty black sleeves. Working only by the light of one small window, we took to sinking shafts in piles of folders, extracting one heavy, brown object at a time.

The air was thick with choking clouds of dust and the looters were hammering and shouting in the rooms and corridors around us. Then my translator happened upon an orange box file with the Arabic label "Britain". Its interior was lined with tigerskin wallpaper.

Four blue folders, each stamped with the Iraqi eagle, lay inside. Opening the first, I happened upon George Galloway's letter nominating Fawaz Zureikat as his representative in Baghdad. Another folder contained a letter from Sir Edward Heath thanking the Iraqi representative in London for attending a luncheon in Salisbury.

Two more box files were labelled "Britain". Others were labelled "United States", "Security Council" and "France". Each appeared to contain all the appropriate documents that had crossed the desk of an Iraqi foreign minister.

They were piled inside a tiny room ajoining the foreign minister's office on the first floor. Nearby was a large room that must once have been the ministry's main archive. The metal frames of row upon row of folders still survive.

Everything else has been burnt to a cinder and the paper contents of the folders have been reduced to white ash.

Why the contents of the room with the box files survived is a mystery. Its walls are blackened by fire, yet most of the folders are intact. The looters who ransacked the ministry clearly had no interest in them. They were perhaps torn down from their shelves because the pillagers were searching for hidden safes on the walls behind.

Like every government building in Baghdad, the foreign ministry has been pillaged to destruction. It also suffered an American cruise missile strike in the second week of the war.

Almost every room has been stripped bare and bands of looters still roam its corridors. Documents are strewn across the floor of every storey. Here, blowing in the wind are the crucial documents of a regime that was once among the most secretive in the world.
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Old 04-22-2003, 08:29 PM   #13
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The UN should be renamed to the "USN"

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Old 04-22-2003, 08:45 PM   #14
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Why? We're talking about an allegation made against one politician. It may not even be true! And it's certainly nothing to do with the United Nations.
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Old 04-22-2003, 08:55 PM   #15
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It most certainly does. Once again it goes back to the creation of this program. It goes to the mismanagement of it. It was a UN program.

As to it just being one man and it may not be true, I would venture that if it is true, they paid off more than one man. I am willing to bet they paid off more than one nation on the security council too. If this pans out to be true, that is.

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